YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter–Social media has created an era where people have become incredibly public in the way they express their opinions and what happens in their daily lives. Whether they film YouTube confessional videos, live stream their evenings, post essays, upload a whole photo album, or drop a series of Tweets, there is a sense of instant gratification that technology is allowing for the first time.
Unfortunately, this also comes with a new problem of instant regret, of videos, photos, and thoughts that will live forever, even if attempts are made to delete them. As a result, jobs have been very publicly lost, relationships have ended, and people have gone to jail. This era has also brought on problems for people when it comes to issues relating to divorce and child custody.
Social Media Posts Can Be Admissible As Evidence
Significantly, social media activity has become a common source of information when it comes to various issues surrounding family law matters. These posts can be used to incriminate and discredit a person, directly impacting the issues in the other spouse’s favor.
Social media posts by a party may be admissible as evidence if they were properly obtained and can be authenticated. Even if social media posts aren’t admissible as evidence, they can create valuable insight into your personal life and your thoughts, which can create a path for your opposing spouse to discover additional information that you do not want to be discovered.
Social Media Posts Can Negatively Impact Your Legal Interests
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state—meaning marital misconduct does not play a role in a couple’s ability to obtain a divorce. Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which incriminating information from social media posts can come into play.
- Equitable Distribution: When a court divides property through equitable distribution, it may consider the “[a]cts of either party to maintain, preserve, develop, or expand; or to waste, neglect, devalue or convert the marital property or divisible property, or both, during the period after separation”. So if a spouse posts videos throwing around money, living well beyond their means, destroying marital property, or giving property away, this can raise flags and negatively impact this critical issue.
- Alimony: When deciding on whether to award spousal support, adultery by a spouse can make or break this issue. A supporting spouse will be required to pay alimony if it can be proven that he/she engaged in “illicit sexual conduct.” A dependent spouse will likewise be denied alimony if he/she had an extramarital affair. Also, when deciding the amount and duration of spousal support, evidence of marital misconduct can support a higher alimony award. A spouse’s social media history can help the other piece together the evidence to support these claims.
- Child Custody: When it comes to child custody, courts are tasked with making decisions that are in the child’s best interest. A child’s safety, stability, and security are all a part of this consideration. So if a parent’s social media accounts are filled with threats, partying, alcohol or drug use, criminal behavior, violence, or other activity that can be deemed inappropriate, this can convince a court to award custody to the other parent and to limit child visitation.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
When it comes to social media, we strongly urge our clients to exercise restraint. If you are considering a divorce and want a better understanding of how social media activity can work for and against your favor, contact New Direction Family Law. Our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience, and continuously educate ourselves on the ever-evolving laws surrounding divorce, property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. We proudly serve women and men in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or visit us at our website.